Saturday, January 17, 2015

My Piyo Story- Or How I Recovered from a Hip Injury During Graduate School

Before I talk about how I got into great shape, I need to give the background of how I got out of shape. In Fall 2012, I was in descent shape. I ran the St. George marathon, as well as 7 half marathons that year. In the course of training for the marathon, most of my running buddies injured themselves. One just quit altogether. That left me and one friend who regularly walked and ran together, until she was diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring of 2013. (She is now in remission and doing great.) Without a workout buddy, my running became less regular. In Fall 2013, I started graduate school as a non-degree seeking student. I ran and did yoga occasionally, but not like I had been.
My Hip Injury
I wish that I had some cool or dramatic story about how I injured my hip, but I don't. My husband and I went to Alaska to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary in June 2014. After sitting in a small airplane or airplane terminal seat for the better part of 13 hours my left hip started aching. I injured my hip  by sitting for too long, pretty lame story.  I tried to take it easy and it got worse. I tried running on it, and it felt better as long as I kept it under 6 miles, then it would hurt. It wasn't extreme pain, it was just annoying. I tried doing yoga more often and visiting a massage therapist. It helped a small amount, but it was always temporary, and overall it was slowly getting worse.
 In Fall 2014 we moved to Colorado so I could go to graduate school, and I joined the university running club. I was excited to have someone to run with and meet new people. The problem is that everyone in the running club is 8-10 years younger than me and in much better shape. When I started pushing myself hard enough to keep up with them I really screwed up my hip. It was too the point that I was in severe pain all day everyday. It hurt to sit, it hurt to stand, it hurt to walk, it hurt to lay down, it hurt to run. My left hip hurt all the time. I was a mess. I was crippled and frustrated that I couldn't exercise and it effected how I felt overall. I went to see a chiropractor. The x-rays showed that my left hip had been rotated enough that my left leg was 2 inches shorter than my right. And the pain was coming from my muscles being twisted and stretched out of place around the joint. So I went in for regular treatments and adjustments. He told me that I needed to start exercising again to help it, but NO running. That made things hard. I don't like the gym, I like to run.

 Then an old friend messaged me and asked if I would like to join her fitness challenge group. I worked with Missy years ago, and she was one of the primary nurses who trained me to be a pediatric nurse. Working nights on pediatrics, you grow to love and trust your co-workers. And I was always impressed that even though she had small kids and worked full-time nights she would still run. At the time I felt to overwhelmed to exercise, but I was impressed that she did.
 While I debated about whether I would do the fitness challenge (because to honest forking out the money is what held me back), I joined one of her clean eating groups. I went the entire month of October without eating any sugar and I lost three pounds. (College life is often not conducive to healthy eating habits.) Then I started the fitness challenge and started doing Piyo workouts. Piyo is like a cross between Pilates and Yoga, with a few other exercises thrown in there. It's a low-impact (read-easy on your joints), full body workout and it was exactly what I needed. It doesn't require any weights or equipment other than a yoga mat. The dvd instruction is led by fitness guru Chalene Johnson. After doing it for a month, I felt so much better! My hip wasn't all the way better, but I could function without pain, and all of my clothes were fitting better. I could sit for hours during my lectures and it was ok! By the end of the month I could run a few miles, but not just that committing to a workout on a regular basis changed me. I had more energy. I found that even though I'm busy with school and three kids and all of the other things in my life, I feel so much better when I schedule time 6 days a weeks for exercise. Piyo really helped me to get in the habit of exercising regularly, without feeling exhausted (like when I trained for my marathon).
 Then I did the workout for another 30 days and I was so pleased with the results. I have never been in this good of shape. My hip is about 90% better (I'm still careful with it, and I do try to avoid sitting for hours at a time). I am stronger and more flexible. There are yoga moves I can do now that I was never able to do before. Doing my workouts gives me the energy and motivation to take on all of  the other things in my life that I need to do. My stomach has not been this flat since jr high. I CAN DO PUSH-UPS! I sleep better! I fit into clothes I never thought I would fit into again after having my kids. And I feel awesome. I loved it so much, I decided to start coaching, because I want to help other people improve their health too. As a nurse, that has always been a goal and motivation anyway, but in many ways as a nurse you can only help people for a short period of time.
 I worked hard, but I wasn't perfect. This was November, December and early January that I did this. (Finals and Holidays) I had a few holiday treats.We went to a few dinner and Christmas parties, and I still enjoyed yummy holidays foods. I still got a little candy in my stocking. Between kids, graduate school and winter illnesses, I missed one workout almost every week. So it doesn't take perfection to improve, but it does take progress and dedication.
 If you are looking to get in shape and want a workout that won't require a lot of equipment and will be easy on your joints. I highly, highly recommend it.
Okay here's the part that I feel kind of nervous about. I'm putting pictures of myself in my sports bra on the internet, so you can see my white flabby mid-driff, stretch marks included.  But I'm sharing so you can compare my results and see that it really works.

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